Broadway musicals based on books
By Lia on October 2nd, 2012
Two of my favorite things in the world are books and theater, so I couldn’t help but geek out with an OOM post that merged the two. We often associate drama with English classes, reading and analyzing plays not only on the page, but also onstage. But what about musical theater? How do the Broadway musicals so many of us know and love have anything to do with books? Time for a little Tuesday book-related musical theater trivia!
- In musical theater, the script — called the libretto — is technically a “book” in and of itself. (In fact, the word “libretto” stems from the word “libro”, which means “book.”) When someone writes the text for a musical, the playbill credit will often say, “Book by…”)
- Bookworms abound in musical theater! Some of my favorite characters are avid readers: Belle from Beauty & the Beast, Marian the Librarian from The Music Man, Brigitta von Trapp from The Sound of Music, and, of course, Matilda from the musical of the same name.
- Many of us are familiar with the musical adaptations of literary classics like Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz. Other famous works translated into musicals include Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte’s Web, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, and Little House on the Prairie. What are your favorite literary classics- turned-musicals?
- Though some musicals don’t bear the exact same titles as the books on which they are based, many of Broadway’s most timeless musicals were inspired by novels and short stories: Fiddler on the Roof (based on Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories); Oliver! (from Oliver Twist); Man of La Mancha (based on Don Quixote); Big River (inspired by The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) and Wicked (an interpretation of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West).
- We can’t forget about the musicals that are based on plays: West Side Story (a modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet); My Fair Lady (from the play Pygmalion); Kiss Me Kate (an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew); Oklahoma! (a take on the play Green Grow the Lilacs); and Carousel (based on Liliom.)
There are tons of other examples of books and plays that were made into musicals… share your favorites in the comments!
Image via Peter J. Bellis
No comments yet